|Publication number||US6049822 A|
|Application number||US 08/962,594|
|Publication date||Apr 11, 2000|
|Filing date||Oct 31, 1997|
|Priority date||Oct 31, 1997|
|Publication number||08962594, 962594, US 6049822 A, US 6049822A, US-A-6049822, US6049822 A, US6049822A|
|Original Assignee||Selectica, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (63), Classifications (14), Legal Events (12)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention is in the field of computer aided sales and advertising and has particular application to software applications for generating and using Knowledge Bases.
Computer aided sales presentations wherein rules-based configurators are employed have long been a valuable tool for allowing a customer or client to configure his or her own order of a product or products. This technique is employed in a network environment whereby a client configures his or her order and sends it over the Internet, or another type of network, to a seller which can fill the order. For example, a complex computer system has many different features, accessories, options, etc. With the appropriate software program, a client can configure his or her own custom order for a particular brand or type of system. By employing an interactive method a client can apply certain desired features in his product-order configuration that were chosen from options provided by a seller.
More recently, it is known to the inventor that object-oriented, constraint-based configurators have begun to replace rules-based configurators by virtue of their more flexible organization. For example, rules-based configurators rely on set rules that are programmed in a procedural computer language. Partly for this reason, every change in the merchandise offered may require substantial changes in the software, which can be quite a lot of work, considering the fast pace of trade today. However, what is needed is a separation between the product configuration knowledge and the process that manipulates the knowledge base. With such separation, the knowledge base can be changed easily via an editing process. The knowledge base applies the changes via linking to other elements of the process such as the object model. However the object models are dependent on the language and platform used for implementation of the knowledge base. Generally programming is required to initiate revision to the product across several platforms.
Generally speaking, an object model representing a product, such as a new automobile, is created using a programming language within a model building application at the sellers end. This object model contains all of the descriptive elements and various features including cost information about the object it represents. A model writer procedure then writes a binary file, which is readable only to applications written in the same environment. These object models can then be presented to a client having the appropriate software application on the correct platform and using the required language. The client can then enter his desired choices or options via interactive software. A configurator commonly known as a run-time engine insures that the client's choices are applied correctly. The configurator is also adapted to negate any conflict or impossibility that may arise from the client's directives.
A difficulty with the current state of the art, which has hampered fast deployment of knowledge bases severely, is that although a knowledge base is superior to a rules base as described above, the knowledge base is language-dependent and not easily transferred across different platforms (i.e. IBM to Macintosh, or even Win 3.1 vs. Win 95). For example, a client would be required to operate in the same computer platform and language to be able to interactively configure his desired purchase. This is a serious problem because it severely limits the targeted on-line community that a seller may reach.
What is clearly needed is a method and apparatus wherein a knowledge base can be transportable across divergent types of computer platforms and languages.
In a preferred embodiment of the present invention a method for transmitting a knowledge-base object model from a source platform to a recipient platform via a data network is provided, comprising steps of (a) converting the object model into a human-readable flat file at the source platform; (b) transporting the flat file across the data network from the source platform to the recipient platform; and (c) reconstructing the object model at the recipient platform from the human-readable flat file. The network can be an Intranet wide area network, a local area network, the Internet, or any other network connection. The method allows object models to be widely disseminated without regard to the type of computers connected, operating systems, or languages used.
In some embodiments the first flat file is used to create a graphical user interface (GUI) object model, the GUI object model is converted into a second human-readable flat file associated with the first flat file, and both files are transported across the network. At a receiving station the flat files are reconstructed into object models by use of a run-time engine. In some embodiments multi-media files are also created and associated with the GUI object model. These files are transported to the receiving station with the flat files.
In conjunction with the methods taught, a system is provided for wide dissemination of object models comprising an object model generator adapted as a tool to create object models, and executing on a source platform; a flat-file writer executing on the source platform; a flat file reader executing on a recipient platform connected by a network connection to the source platform; and a run-time engine executing on the recipient platform and adapted to regenerate object models from received flat files. An object model created on the source platform by use of the object model generator is converted by the flat file writer to a flat file, which is transported to the recipient platform via the network connection, read by the flat-file reader, and reconverted to an object model. The network connection may be to any type of network, including the Internet.
In the system provided, a first flat file generated from an object model may be used by a graphical user interface (GUI) builder to create a GUI object model associated with the first object model, which is also rendered as a flat file, and both associated flat files may be transmitted to a recipient station, where the object models may be reconstructed. In the systems of the invention object models are transmitted between different types of computers using different operating systems and languages, providing thereby for broader than usual dissemination of object models.
FIG. 1 is a flow chart illustrating a procedure for a knowledge base application according to an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 1 is a flow chart illustrating a knowledge base work flow application according to an embodiment of the present invention wherein both knowledge base objects and GUI objects are generated and presented to a client by an advertiser or seller of a product.
A knowledge base generator or model builder 101 is used at the sellers end to create a desired object model 102. As described briefly with reference to the background section, object model 102 contains all of the information related to the represented object or product such as dimensions, colors, styles, pricing and the like. Model builder 101 is a software tool known to the inventor in the art of generating knowledge bases.
In a preferred embodiment of the present invention a programming language such as Java or C+ is used in the building of object model 102. The reason for this is because these languages are relatively universal and usable among different platforms. It will be apparent to one with skill in the art that many different programming languages could be used in creating object model 102 without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention such as Perl or Visual Basic. The languages mentioned above are used in a preferred embodiment for reasons described above.
A unique and innovative method according to an embodiment of the present invention is initiated by using a model-converting writer 103 to write object model 102 into the form of a collection of human readable ASCII files. Such files are commonly referred to by those with skill in the art as flat files, and are typically human readable and sensical. A flat file 104 which is an ASCII file containing knowledge base objects that have been converted and written by model-converting writer 103 can be transported to the client over the Internet or another type of network. Flat file 104 is an external media type file that can be read by a computer program or by a person. Therefore the recreation or modification of the object models can be automated or manual. Also, communications across different platforms is sometimes"intransparent", meaning only human readable files can be transferred. Other file types, such as binary files, can contain characters that would be interpreted by either entity (sending or receiving computer) as commands, including such commands that can disrupt or terminate such communications.
Flat file 104 in an embodiment of the invention is used as a source for a GUI builder 111 in the process of building a GUI object model 112. GUI-object model 112 insures that there are graphical or visual representations of the appropriate parts of object model 102. Using a conversion-model writer 113, GUI-object models are written into the form of a human-readable ASCII flat file along with some optional multimedia files for filling in the GUI that can then be sent to a client.
The incorporation of a human readable, ASCII format into the knowledge base process allows for the transporting of the associated information across different computer platforms as well as allowing for the use of differing languages. This unique method utilizes known software applications such as model-converting writers 103, and 113 and enhances them with the capability of converting the object models into flat files as explained and taught above.
In FIG. 1, dotted line 110 represents a network transmission interface, such as transmission of files to a client via an Internet connection. Those steps and processes appearing above line 110 are on the seller's side, and those below are on the client's side. Presumably, in the case of the Internet, the client has accessed the seller's Internet site, and is capable of downloading selected information. Whether or not the information downloaded is useful to the client is an issue addressed by the present invention.
At the client's end, a reader application 123 reads the flat files downloaded from the advertiser's site and rebuilds these files into objects for a knowledge-based configurator known in the art as a run-time engine 121. Run-time engine 121 converts flat files 104 and 114 back into knowledge base objects 122 and GUI objects 132 which are the same as object models 102 and 104. For example, if the same programming language and environment is used in run-time engine 121 as in model builder 101, then knowledge base 122 will be identical to object model 102 both binaurally and descriptively. The same relationship can be concluded with regards to GUI objects 132 and object model 112. If a different language and environment is used in run-time generator 121 that that used in model builder 101, then the files are not binaurally identical, but will accurately describe the same object.
A process of the present invention as described above could be used to up-date configurator systems such as run-time engine 121. Editing or changing rules could be done from within the knowledge base instead of from within the object model via the addition of a reader that reads the flat file back into object model 102.
It will be apparent to one with skill in the art that a method of the present invention such as described with reference to FIG. 1 could use a variety of different programming languages as known in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. It will also be apparent to one with skill in the art that the method of the present invention may be adapted to be transported across a variety of known computer platforms without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. For example a client using a windows operating system may download and configure ASCII files that were generated in a UNIX environment and so on.
The spirit and scope of the present invention is limited only by the claims that follow.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US5710900 *||Oct 12, 1995||Jan 20, 1998||Ncr Corporation||System and method for generating reports from a computer database|
|US5748188 *||Oct 31, 1996||May 5, 1998||Ncr Corporation||Hypertext markup language (HTML) extensions for graphical reporting over an internet|
|US5784539 *||Nov 26, 1996||Jul 21, 1998||Client-Server-Networking Solutions, Inc.||Quality driven expert system|
|US5870768 *||Jan 10, 1997||Feb 9, 1999||International Business Machines Corporation||Expert system and method employing hierarchical knowledge base, and interactive multimedia/hypermedia applications|
|US5887133 *||Jan 15, 1997||Mar 23, 1999||Health Hero Network||System and method for modifying documents sent over a communications network|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US6480867 *||Jul 6, 1999||Nov 12, 2002||International Business Machines Corporation||System and method for managing filesystem objects in a multilingual distributed environment|
|US6684220||Sep 20, 2000||Jan 27, 2004||Lockheed Martin Corporation||Method and system for automatic information exchange|
|US6687816 *||Apr 4, 2000||Feb 3, 2004||Peoplesoft, Inc.||Configuration caching|
|US6968370 *||Mar 24, 2001||Nov 22, 2005||Tuan-Hui Wu||Method of transferring resources between different operation systems|
|US7003548 *||Mar 29, 1999||Feb 21, 2006||Gelco Corporation||Method and apparatus for developing and checking technical configurations of a product|
|US7085804 *||Mar 25, 2002||Aug 1, 2006||Siemens Aktiengesellschaft||Method for processing objects of a standardized communication protocol|
|US7133894||Mar 12, 2002||Nov 7, 2006||International Business Machines Corporation||Method, apparatus, and program for synchronous remote builds|
|US7272821 *||Aug 25, 2003||Sep 18, 2007||Tech Mahindra Limited||System and method of universal programming language conversion|
|US7636895 *||Jun 27, 2008||Dec 22, 2009||Sap Portals Israel Ltd||Modeling system for graphic user interface|
|US7689951 *||Aug 31, 2004||Mar 30, 2010||Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.||Design rule checking system and method, for checking compliance of an integrated circuit design with a plurality of design rules|
|US7757204||Dec 29, 2005||Jul 13, 2010||Sap Ag||Limiting extensibility of a visual modeling language|
|US7774745||Dec 29, 2005||Aug 10, 2010||Sap Ag||Mapping of designtime to runtime in a visual modeling language environment|
|US7840935||Dec 29, 2005||Nov 23, 2010||Sap Ag||Restrictive visualization of a stereotype construct for entities in a visual modeling environment|
|US8086710||Oct 30, 2007||Dec 27, 2011||Quest Software, Inc.||Identity migration apparatus and method|
|US8087075||Feb 13, 2006||Dec 27, 2011||Quest Software, Inc.||Disconnected credential validation using pre-fetched service tickets|
|US8245242||Nov 4, 2009||Aug 14, 2012||Quest Software, Inc.||Systems and methods for managing policies on a computer|
|US8255984||Jul 1, 2010||Aug 28, 2012||Quest Software, Inc.||Single sign-on system for shared resource environments|
|US8327177||May 17, 2010||Dec 4, 2012||Dell Products L.P.||System and method for information handling system storage device power consumption management|
|US8346908||Dec 13, 2011||Jan 1, 2013||Quest Software, Inc.||Identity migration apparatus and method|
|US8429712||Jun 18, 2006||Apr 23, 2013||Quest Software, Inc.||Centralized user authentication system apparatus and method|
|US8522139||Nov 5, 2009||Aug 27, 2013||Sap Portals Israel Ltd.||Modeling system for graphic user interface|
|US8533744||Jul 31, 2012||Sep 10, 2013||Dell Software, Inc.||Systems and methods for managing policies on a computer|
|US8578265||Oct 7, 2008||Nov 5, 2013||Bigmachines, Inc.||Methods and apparatus for generating a dynamic document|
|US8584218||Dec 21, 2011||Nov 12, 2013||Quest Software, Inc.||Disconnected credential validation using pre-fetched service tickets|
|US8713583||Sep 9, 2013||Apr 29, 2014||Dell Software Inc.||Systems and methods for managing policies on a computer|
|US8966045||Nov 27, 2012||Feb 24, 2015||Dell Software, Inc.||Identity migration apparatus and method|
|US8978098||Apr 17, 2013||Mar 10, 2015||Dell Software, Inc.||Centralized user authentication system apparatus and method|
|US9130847||Apr 28, 2014||Sep 8, 2015||Dell Software, Inc.||Systems and methods for managing policies on a computer|
|US9288201||Nov 11, 2013||Mar 15, 2016||Dell Software Inc.||Disconnected credential validation using pre-fetched service tickets|
|US9348482||Jul 29, 2013||May 24, 2016||Sap Se||Modeling system for graphic user interface|
|US9348483||Sep 12, 2013||May 24, 2016||Sap Se||Modeling system for graphic user interface|
|US9524506||Oct 21, 2011||Dec 20, 2016||Bigmachines, Inc.||Methods and apparatus for maintaining business rules in a configuration system|
|US9576140||Aug 24, 2012||Feb 21, 2017||Dell Products L.P.||Single sign-on system for shared resource environments|
|US9710856||Feb 28, 2017||Jul 18, 2017||Buymetrics, Inc.||System and method for adapting market data and evaluating unequal offers|
|US9754244||Dec 2, 2016||Sep 5, 2017||Buymetrics, Inc.||System and method for adapting market data and evaluating the market value of transactions|
|US20020133574 *||Mar 24, 2001||Sep 19, 2002||Tuan-Hui Wu||Method of transferring resources between different operation systems|
|US20020146159 *||Mar 25, 2002||Oct 10, 2002||Siemens Aktiengesellschaft||Method for processing objects of a standardized communication protocol|
|US20020165936 *||Jan 25, 2002||Nov 7, 2002||Victor Alston||Dynamically branded web sites|
|US20030163393 *||Mar 7, 2003||Aug 28, 2003||Sanjay Mittal||Method and apparatus for use of an application state storage system in interacting with on-line services|
|US20030177473 *||Mar 12, 2002||Sep 18, 2003||International Business Machines Corporation||Method, apparatus, and program for synchronous remote builds|
|US20040015861 *||Apr 18, 2001||Jan 22, 2004||Nagalkar Dhananjay A.||Managing content with multi-site and single point of control|
|US20050050525 *||Aug 25, 2003||Mar 3, 2005||Chittar Rajendra S.||System and method of universal programming language conversion|
|US20050149909 *||Feb 8, 2005||Jul 7, 2005||Batcha Thomas R.||System and method of designing, testing, and employing graphical computer code|
|US20060167988 *||Dec 14, 2005||Jul 27, 2006||David Barck||Method and sytem for developing technical configurations|
|US20060200772 *||Dec 8, 2003||Sep 7, 2006||Sathiyamoorthy Dhanapal||Procedural computation engine for providing complex calculated data results to an object-oriented server system accessible to service clients and agents over a data packet network|
|US20060294199 *||Jun 13, 2006||Dec 28, 2006||The Zeppo Network, Inc.||Systems and Methods for Providing A Foundational Web Platform|
|US20070079238 *||Oct 5, 2005||Apr 5, 2007||Sbc Knowledge Ventures, L.P.||Computer executable graphical user interface engine, system, and method therefor|
|US20070157159 *||Dec 29, 2005||Jul 5, 2007||Ulf Fildebrandt||Limiting extensibility of a visual modeling language|
|US20070168383 *||Dec 29, 2005||Jul 19, 2007||Ulf Fildebrandt||Restrictive visualization of a stereotype construct for entities in a visual modeling environment|
|US20070168384 *||Dec 29, 2005||Jul 19, 2007||Ulf Fildebrandt||Mapping of designtime to runtime in a visual modeling language environment|
|US20070192843 *||Feb 13, 2006||Aug 16, 2007||Quest Software, Inc.||Disconnected credential validation using pre-fetched service tickets|
|US20070288992 *||Jun 18, 2006||Dec 13, 2007||Kyle Lane Robinson||Centralized user authentication system apparatus and method|
|US20080104220 *||Oct 30, 2007||May 1, 2008||Nikolay Vanyukhin||Identity migration apparatus and method|
|US20080320422 *||Aug 31, 2004||Dec 25, 2008||Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.||Design Rule Checking System|
|US20090006992 *||Jun 27, 2008||Jan 1, 2009||Sap Ag||Modeling System for Graphic User Interface|
|US20100050152 *||Nov 5, 2009||Feb 25, 2010||Sap Ag||Modeling system for graphic user interface|
|US20100050232 *||Nov 4, 2009||Feb 25, 2010||Peterson Matthew T||Systems and methods for managing policies on a computer|
|US20100088590 *||Oct 7, 2008||Apr 8, 2010||Bigmachines, Inc.||Methods and apparatus for generating a dynamic document|
|US20100281429 *||Apr 30, 2009||Nov 4, 2010||Bigmachines, Inc.||Methods and apparatus for configuring a product using an array of configuration sets|
|USRE45327||Mar 7, 2013||Jan 6, 2015||Dell Software, Inc.||Apparatus, systems and methods to provide authentication services to a legacy application|
|EP1172735A1 *||Jul 11, 2000||Jan 16, 2002||Columbus IT Partner Consulting A/S||Database conversion or integration|
|WO2000058854A1 *||Mar 29, 2000||Oct 5, 2000||G.E. Capital Fleet Services||A method and system for developing technical configurations|
|WO2002005127A1 *||Jul 11, 2001||Jan 17, 2002||Columbus It Partner Consulting A/S||Database conversion or integration|
|U.S. Classification||709/217, 719/328, 709/202, 707/E17.006, 707/999.107, 707/999.104|
|International Classification||G06Q30/06, G06F17/30|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S707/99945, Y10S707/99948, G06Q30/06, G06F17/30569|
|European Classification||G06F17/30S5V, G06Q30/06|
|May 1, 1998||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: IMPERIAL BANK, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SELECTICA, INC.;REEL/FRAME:009165/0011
Effective date: 19980417
|Jul 30, 1999||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SELECTICA, INC., A CORP. OF CALIFORNIA, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:MITTAL, SANJAY;REEL/FRAME:010131/0414
Effective date: 19990712
|Apr 14, 2003||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jul 20, 2007||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Oct 6, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BRIDGE BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:SELECTICA, INC.;REEL/FRAME:027029/0039
Effective date: 20110927
|Nov 21, 2011||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Apr 11, 2012||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Apr 11, 2012||REIN||Reinstatement after maintenance fee payment confirmed|
|May 29, 2012||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20120411
|Apr 7, 2014||PRDP||Patent reinstated due to the acceptance of a late maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20140409
|Apr 9, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12
|Jul 5, 2016||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: DETERMINE INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:SELECTICA, INC.;REEL/FRAME:039257/0834
Effective date: 20151015